Anti-gun activists are getting frustrated that they can’t force governments to ban guns. Despite some supposed polls that show a slight majority of Americans supporting further restrictions on gun ownership, the reality is that most Americans don’t support gun control. And any politician who decides to embrace gun control is putting his political career at risk, at least if he’s in anything but a fully Democrat-dominated area. So, like any bully who can’t get his way through reason and persuasion, the anti-gun activists are starting to use force to put pressure on companies to ostracize firearms makers and gun owners.
Among the most prominently publicized was the boycott called for by Parkland High School student David Hogg, who called for a boycott of BlackRock and Vanguard, two investment firms who he claims are among the largest investors in gun manufacturers. Coming on the back of what was seen as a successful boycott of conservative TV host Laura Ingraham, Hogg’s latest boycott call has largely fizzled. Both BlackRock and Vanguard are large investment firms with trillions of dollars of assets under their control. Their customers aren’t about to boycott the companies and liquidate their retirement funds just to make a political point. But that won’t keep the gun banners from trying to force their will on financial companies.
Wells Fargo has become a target of activists for having both gun manufacturers and the NRA as its customers. While major banks such as Bank of America, Citi, and JPMorgan Chase have cut ties to gun companies, Wells Fargo has resisted calls from activists to cut ties to gun companies. Its CFO has gone on the record as stated that the political and legislative process is the best way to enact policy, and that Wells Fargo will not attempt to set new policies with regard to its services to gun companies. Still, with the many scandals that have ensnared Wells Fargo in recent years, it isn’t unthinkable that financial regulators with an ax to grind may in the future attempt to nudge Wells Fargo to cut its ties to gun companies in exchange for more lenient treatment.
Finally, we can’t exclude the likelihood of shareholder activism when it comes to publicly held gun companies. While most firearms manufacturers are privately held, a few like Ruger trade their shares openly on financial markets. At Ruger’s upcoming shareholder meeting, activist investors will attempt to force the company to change its policies and agree to a list of demands related to “gun safety,” among other things.
Why a shareholder would seek to force a company to engage in activity detrimental to its bottom line is bizarre, but that’s the way anti-gun activists view the world. They have no qualms about destroying anything they don’t like, even if it means harming themselves or others in the process. That’s why they’re so dangerous, because they have the zeal of the committed revolutionary ideologue, and they won’t stop at anything to destroy anything or anyone who stands in their way.